NEWTOWN SQUARE–Suzanne Kreitzberg was always outdoors. She recalls begging her mother to let her go swimming on Memorial Day weekend during her childhood in New England. Unlike this current heat, it was always too cold but that never stopped her. Kreitzberg simply loves nature.
"I love having my windows open and having all that fresh air come in after all winter being closed up," she said. Kreitzberg is educated through the horticulture program at Longwood Gardens. She has been an active gardener, constantly belonging to a garden club and has cultivated nature almost everywhere she has lived—even in a small apartment.
"I am happiest when I can get outside. In my garden, I do a lot of shooting and I do think a touchstone for me is being out in nature and being in tune with what is going on around me in the natural world," she explained. She lives on a five-acre farm in Newtown Square; about three and a half of those acres are undeveloped woods. She even has a creek that runs through her serene and peaceful property.
Kreitzberg began developing photography skills in college, but she would find herself becoming impatient with the old-fashioned developing process.
"My time in the dark room was a very frustrating period of time for me in college. I was self-taught to begin with; it was slow and it was tedious and it was not well suited for my temperament," she explained. Kreitzberg also joked that while she is able to sit in the middle of the woods for hours to get the perfect shot, she still had no patience for the dark room.
Kreitzberg would start up again only to re-shelf her camera again and again, until her husband stepped in. Six years ago he gave her a trip to Texas with two photographers Nancy Rotenberg and Jeremy Woodhouse. Kreitzberg spent a week with 15 other aspiring shutterbugs photographing and learning about digital photography. The trip was a "life-changing event."
Digital photography really fit all the assets Kreitzberg had struggled with. She enjoys the ability to control the whole process so she can focus more on her natural subjects.
Kreitzberg's favorite part of photography is being able to look at the light and the angles of nature. Digital photography enabled her to capture the essence that she sees in nature, adjusting it just a bit.
She is currently working with HDR, which enhances the color of the final product. When altering an image she may change the contrast on the photo. Kreitzberg also finds that sometimes a black and white composition will show details of a subject that may be missed if the focus is on the color. For example, if you look at a leaf the focus will be on the greens, but if the green is taken out you can notice the veins and the stems of the leaf. These smaller details are easier seen in black and white.
Kreitzberg's photos are bright and extremely detailed. Her work does tend to showcase more of a summer/spring environment, but she took advantage of this past extreme winter by photographing the birds that congregated around the her backyard feeders.
There was a large amount of cardinals who became comfortable being in front of her lens. Birds are common models, along with bugs and flowers. Kreitzberg is currently growing bullfrogs on her property so she can produces a series of photographs featuring them.
Kreitzberg feels exhibiting is key to getting her work out there. Photography galleries are few and far in between, most galleries that cater to photographers would also feature a mix of mediums such as painting and sculpture. Her work is currently on display at , and believes that cafés are great ways to promote her work.
"It's a symbiotic relationship," she explained. "They get their wall decorated with nice things and the artists gets the exposure and possibly sales." She is also involved with the Media Arts Council who connects businesses with the arts community. She has been involved with the Westtown School Art Show. The show grew from 20 artists the previous year to 80 this year.
Kretizberg has a lot on the horizon. She is planning several more exhibits in the area this year along with branching into photojournalism. Krietzberg's ability to capture the sense of wonderment in nature has captured the eye of travel magazines. She also will be coming in from the garden from time to time to expand her portfolio of portraits.
If you are interested in purchasing an original Kreitzberg, Burlap and Bean will showcase her work from June 5 through July 2. Her gallery will be a mix of different images picked out by Kreitzberg and Burlap and Bean Cultural Arts Director Tara Endicott.
The average-sized, framed pieces range from about $170- $190. She does sell some pieces unframed for $100 or under. The larger pieces can cost up to $300. Despite being digital, Kreitzberg rarely sells two of the same pieces.
"I like the idea of retiring things. Once someone purchases a piece, they know there are not 500 of the same things walking around out there," she said. Kreitzberg admits she has reproduced some pieces, but it is rare.
On July 2, she will be hosting a reception as part of First Friday at Burlap and Bean. There will be food and live music with Charlie Philips.
To keep up with Suzanne Kreitzberg's daily images and muses, check out her blog.